Rep. Edward Lindsey, a co-sponsor of HR 1162, has been outspoken in his criticism of Dr. Barge, Georgia Superintendent of Schools, for publically withdrawing his endorsement of this amendment to re-affirm the state's authority to charter public schools. In an email exchange between the two as reported on Maureen Downey's AJC blog, "Get Schooled," on August 17th, Lindsey mounts his computer on a soapbox and proclaims; "Therefore, I will let you stand with the status quo education bureaucracy. I will stand with the students and their parents who deserve better." Wow.
It's About the Lawyers
Too bad Tina Fey and Seth Meyers can't drop in for an SNL "Really?! Rep. Lindsey" segment. In my opinion, Rep. Lindsey, a lawyer, knows full well that HR 1162 is part of a legal game of chess between certain legislators, their "school choice" backers, and our local school boards and superintendents.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in May, 2011, that the previous Charter Commission, established by the legislature in 2008, was unconstitutional. The majority opinion in that case stated that local boards of education, as the "closest and most responsive to the taxpayers and parents of the children being educated should have the most authority over public education."
Charter school advocates and their backers want you, the voters, to correct what they view as the Georgia Supreme Court's error (legal eagles, read http://www.brightergeorgia.org/pdf/The_Need_for_a_Constitutional_Amendment_WHITE_PAPER.pdf). They want you to help them amend a pesky line in our constitution on page 61, Section V, Paragraph 1, which reads; "No independent school system shall hereafter be established."
HR 1162, if approved by you, will give the state the power to authorize, via a Charter Commission, and fund an independent system of charter schools. These state chartered special schools will be sanctioned by an appointed committee and you and local school boards will have no say in their location or operation. Tea Party where are you?
You might be interested to know that Rep. Lindsey is Chairperson of a Constitutional Amendment committee called Families for Better Public Schools. This committee hosted a dinner on August 1st at Bones in Buckhead - cost of entry - $1,000 per plate, $5,000 or $10,000 per sponsor. Hmmm - I wonder how many students and their families attended?
As a parent, I find Rep. Lindsey's condescending, bombastic tone towards Dr. Barge repugnant and alarming. Aren't they both public servants? Vote "NO" on HR 1162 - Reason 2 - it will allow the state to set up a separate school system unaccountable to the taxpayers. Please read the fine print - HR 1162 is a legal can of worms! This battle begs the question, "Who started it and why? To be continued.